The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A day after the International Cricket Council announced the postponement of the T20 World Cup in Australia, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has initiated the process to conduct the tournament on a war-footing.
“Yes the IPL will be held in the UAE... Confirmed. We have already approached the government for necessary permission,” IPL governing council chairman Brijesh Patel told The Telegraph on Tuesday.
“We want to keep the tournament at home, but we don’t know what the situation will be in September. That’s why UAE is our choice.”
Asked when they were expecting the permission, Patel quipped: “Given a choice I would want it right now.”
The governing council is likely to call a meeting of its members by this weekend before announcing the dates and the fixtures.
According to sources in the Emirates Cricket Board, the BCCI hasn’t replied to their invitation letter yet but has been in touch informally on a regular basis to sort out the logistics regarding the tournament.
The money-spinning league is likely to be held between September 26 and November 7 and will feature 60 matches. More double headers will be expected this time to accommodate the matches.
Patel said Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah would be the three main venues and matches would be played in a bio-secure atmosphere.
UAE’s experience in hosting the first leg of the 2014 edition successfully, superior infrastructure and practice facilities along with flight connectivity tilted the scales in their favour. Also the pandemic situation is under control there.
As already reported by The Telegraph, allowing spectators in the stadiums during the IPL is a strong possibility.
“Once the confirmation comes from the BCCI, there are a few government protocols that we need to follow. Once that is done, having spectators in stadiums is a possibility. That we have lifted most of the restrictions in Dubai is a big positive,” sources in the UAE said.
The franchises too haven’t been officially told anything about the venues. But that hasn’t stopped them from chalking out their plans. Mumbai Indians, who have a commercial partnership with the JW Marriott group, are reportedly planning to set up their base at their Dubai property. Other franchises are also planning similar hubs there.
The franchises are likely to set up their bases in Dubai at least a month before the tournament starts since the Indian players have been out of action since March. The international players are expected to head straight to Dubai.
Players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari, who aren’t part of any franchise in the IPL, will practise at Motera in Ahmedabad .